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The History Behind Origami

By Holly Nicholson



If you are looking for a fun way to tie two badges together, keep on reading. This article will discuss how members can earn their Origami Badge in conjunction with their Art History Badge. Origami is an ancient form of Japanese paper art that has been around for approximately one thousand years! Lack of substantial written records prior to the 15th century make it difficult to pinpoint the exact date of origami’s conception. The history and methods behind origami are fascinating to learn about! 

Get Started

Learning more about the history and methods behind origami will help you appreciate art as a whole. Brittanica has a wonderful article to take you through the history of origami and its unknown origins.  The Art History Badge further encourages you to explore famous artists, methods in constructing art, and more. Learn how all types of art have evolved over time, including the development of origami over the past thousand years. Studying art from a general perspective as you focus on origami will leave you with a more advanced background in different types of art, and thus more ready to delve into paper art specifically. Kidsconnect has a great downloadable packet of facts and worksheets that will take you from 32,000 BC all the way to modern times.

Once you have a general understanding of art history and origami’s place in it, it is time to try your hand at paper folding. has a fantastic beginners guide to show you basic folds and terminology.  The Free Printables website also has a variety of free origami instructions from crabs to cats to foxes in a simple printable format.


Art Tour:

Optional ways to learn more about Art History include visiting an Art Museum or Gallery. If you live far away from an Art Museum, or you can’t pick which one you want to visit- don’t fret! Try taking a virtual tour of the Louve or visit the World Wide Art Museum website that lets you search (by country and state) art museums all over the world.  See which ones have online tours.


Art, Science and Technology: 

Research how science and technology have affected the development of origami. How is origami influencing industrial engineering? Research famous origami artists like Robert Langretired NASA Physicist, to learn more. Read all about these exciting advances and the relations between art, science, and technology on the The Smithsonian website and their article – Origami Revolutionizing Industrial Design.

Tying Origami into Art History

To combine earning your Art History Badge with the Origami Badge requirements, complete the second Level 3 Requirement for the Art History Badge by learning about a famous origami artist. After learning about this famous artist, replicate one of their works to satisfy theLevel 3 Requirement #2 for the Origami Badge. Once you have created your first origami piece, teach your skills to a family member or friend to complete your second Adult requirement or use it as an optional requirement for a lower level. Explore many of the optional requirements under the Origami Badge and learn to make all kinds of origami shapes and animals. By the time you are done, you will have a paper zoo!


Between the Folds

Below is the trailer for the documentary Between the Folds, a documentary that chronicles the stories of 10 artists and scientists who have become experts in the fine art of paper folding.  The full movie is now available on Amazon Video.  You do need a subscription to PBS Documentaries to watch it, but Amazon offers a free 7-day trial, so you can always watch it and them cancel your subscription at no cost.



Keep in Mind

While the Art History Badge and Origami Badge can certainly be earned separately, earning them together is a fun way to go deeper into learning more specific facts and methods that are related to both badges. 



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